Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Link du Jour: Brad Meltzer

When DC announced back in the day that Kevin Smith's stint as writer of Green Arrow wasn't going to last forever, I was as concerned as most other Green Arrow fans that the next guy be up to snuff. Smith's run on the book was a freakin' thrill to read, so who could possibly compare?

I didn't know who Brad Meltzer was, but when they announced him I was a little encouraged that he was a successful novelist who liked sneaking geeky comic references into his books. That meant he had both the talent and the passion to do a good job on what, at the time, was my favorite superhero. As I read his Green Arrow story, "The Archer's Quest," I wasn't disappointed.

Meltzer's story was very different from Smith's in feel, but it communicated that same love of What Had Come Before that Smith's did. And it ended with a shocking revelation about Green Arrow that, while completely in-character for the hero, completely changed the way I looked at him as well. Later, reading interviews with Meltzer, I learned that that was the point.

His effectiveness in doing so is hotly debated amongst comics fans, but I admire Meltzer's desire to leave characters profoundly changed by the stories he tells about them. The biggest weakness of corporate-owned superhero comics is the pressure to maintain the status quo, and even if I don't always agree with a particular point in his execution, I love that Meltzer has the desire (and the political clout) to tell daring stories with these characters.

I also love his attitude about genres. I got to interview him once and asked him about it. "I think they're a trap," he said, "simply because a 'genre' implies rules. And there's no greater restriction to writing than to say a certain story has to have 'rules.' A thriller needs nothing more than danger to the protagonist and a good story. You don't need a love interest, or a private eye, or a stunning courtroom scene. It needs nothing but a good story. It can be a Western with dogs -- but if it's good, it's good."


West said...

I'm not fan, but I can appreciate your perspective on Mr. Meltzer.

Interesting stuff.

(I'm probably not as familiar with Green Arrow as you may be, but the stuff he and Arsenal did to Cat-Man seemed too over-the-top, for me. Just an example.)

Michael May said...

Hee hee! In my original draft of this post I mentioned that at least one person reading it would disagree with me about the merits of "Archer's Quest." Guess who I was thinking of? :)

I can appreciate your perspective. I'm not as hard core a Meltzer fan as I initially was; I just still appreciate his approach to storytelling if not always his execution.

West said...

Ya got me! :-p

Anonymous said...

I can't get into the Brad Meltzer camp. I hated his latest novel, THE BOOK OF FATE, and I hated his recent JLA relaunch. Yes, I'm in the minority.


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